Meet the New Family - My housemates from March onwards
Sometimes, I feel like a bear cub. Surviving Winter is something of a relief, since I'm never quite sure I'll be able to make it. Unlike bears, though, I am unable to hibernate for three months (more's the pity), and so sitting it out or committing suicide are my only options. I can forsee a day when I eventually choose the latter, but it wasn't to be this year. Things, as D:ream and New Labour promised, could only get better.
Unusually, the promises were kept, and things really did get better; and how! Firstly, the two guys Lauren and I were living with left to live in some filthy paradise of their own making and were replaced by a lovely German girl, Christina, and an Argentine called Hernán. It was, put simply, a little bit of heaven on earth. Not only were they clean, but were nice people. We all got along swimmingly, and it was the beginning of possibly the best flatshare I've ever been in.
Along with the domestic bliss came a happier semester at the shop, too. All but one of my new classes were engaging and - more importanly - were being taught by likeable people. Added to that, the sun began to shine and even more friends were made. In april, I also had the good fortune to meet writer Antonio Skármeta, which was a lovely experience, and though not exactly life-changing, certainly one of the most memorable events of my time, here.
I also managed to go on a couple of weekend breaks. I visited Barcelona with my friends from university, while jetting off to Santander with a big group of Spanish friends and acquaintances. Santander went down as one of the best trips of my time in Spain, since the weather was good, the company was excellent, and I finally felt able to relax for a weekend. The trip to Barcelona was almost as good, considering I was among some of my best new friends from university, but the city itself disappointed me. Sure, the sights were very impressive, but it was the attitude of the Catalans which made me feel less than welcome. I'm certain that not all Catalans are like that, and this will probably upset any Catalan reader who stumbles across the blog, but hey-ho; my blog, my opinion.
Then came Easter, or Semana Santa, as it is called here. It literally means "Holy Week", since celebrations start with the domingo de ramos on the sunday before Good Friday, and end on the Sunday after. Processions, parades, parties and pointed hoods á la Ku Klux Klan (who actually stole the look from the nazareno processioners) are the order of the week, with street activity reaching maximum. I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of two of my best friends from home, with whom I'd planned a week-long road trip around Spain, starting in Madrid, going through Seville and Granada in the south, up to Valencia on the east coast, and finishing in Barcelona, from where we would go our separate ways. The holiday would be a brilliant way to show my friends why I love the country so much, as well as a chance to see them after so long apart.
However, things didn't quite go to plan. The first part, Madrid and Seville, went well and we all had a very good time. Problems began in Granada, and in the space of 24 hours, I managed to single-handedly destroy two longstanding friendships in one fell swoop. As far as my achievements have been, that has been one of the greatest with a negative effect on my life.
I subsequently spent pretty much all of April upset with myself, and vowing never to repeat such a mistake. It was probably the lowest point of my entire year, which is a shame, and though I have picked myself up, and maybe even improved a little, I'm still not quite over it. Time will tell.
In any case, if things had gotten better over March and April, the pattern wouldn't stop there for the following months...